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Supporting communities to cope with drought and strengthen livelihoods - In 2011, ACTED responded to the worst drought in Kenya in the past sixty years, providing vulnerable agro-pastoralists in Northern Kenya with emergency water and sanitation assistance, cash injections and destocking. ACTED facilitated dialogue and peace negotiations among and between conflicting communities, enabling pastoralists to peaceably access and share scarce water resources and pasture at the height of the crisis. Capacity-building and input support for agro-pastoralists in the beginning of the year sought to improve animal health and marketing, strengthen income-generating activities and aid in sustainable management of resources, protecting livelihoods from the impact of the drought and building community resilience.
Responding to emergency needs during the 2011 drought in Northern Kenya
In Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands, the failure of the rains in late 2010 and again in early 2011 put increased stress on vulnerable agro-pastoralist communities already struggling to recover from a severe drought in 2009. Drought-affected families experienced severe depletion of livestock, engaged in distress sales of assets, accumulated large debts in order to purchase food and were led to over-exploit remaining pasture, contributing to conflict between communities over access to resources. ACTED responded by supporting vulnerable households to maintain their food security with cash-for-work, emergency slaughter destocking and animal health interventions including mass vaccination and deworming campaigns. Peace-building meetings between conflicting Pokot and Samburu communities led to peaceful and increased access to key grazing and water resources. Low levels of hygiene and sanitation knowledge, coupled with limited availability of clean and functioning water sources, also contributed to high rates of disease and malnutrition. To address this worsening situation, ACTED conducted water and sanitation interventions in Samburu county, East Pokot district, and Wajir North district including water trucking, latrine construction in schools, community-led total sanitation, emergency rehabilitation of water points (dams and boreholes) and hygiene promotion and kit distribution to mother’s groups.
Building local capacity for sustainable development and disaster resilience
As a result of economic and social marginalisation, severe weather events and other disasters, the livelihoods of populations in East Pokot district and Samburu county in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya have been severely impacted, while local authorities are unable to provide necessary basic services to support these communities. In order to build resilience to future disasters and strengthen the livelihoods of agro-pastoralists in this region, ACTED carried out activities to strengthen the capacity of communities and government. ACTED conducted trainings for livestock owners on improved animal husbandry, marketing and animal health, and handed over livestock husbandry kits, facilitating community-driven outreach services to under-served areas. Commercial linkages were also strengthened when ACTED facilitated buyer and seller meetings in these remote locations, promoting timely commercial destocking of livestock. ACTED also supported women’s groups to expand their income-generating activities by conducting business training and handing over hygiene supply stores. Capacity-building for water management committees gave communities the knowledge to sustainably maintain their water sources, while ACTED also strengthened government capacity for water resource management through the launch of a project with the district water offices to collect and map key data on water points.
Integrating disaster risk reduction, effective governance, and information services for vulnerable communities
In 2012, ACTED remains poised to respond to future emergency needs in Northern Kenya. ACTED will also continue enhancing community and government capacity to prepare for and manage drought, building stronger, more resilient livelihoods in Samburu county and East Pokot district. ACTED will use a community-based, participatory approach focusing on beneficiaries as agents of change in their villages, while providing continued emergency livelihood, water, sanitation, hygiene and food security support to vulnerable communities still recovering from the severe 2011 drought. At the same time, ACTED will work with local ministries to enhance service delivery, particularly for livestock and veterinary departments critical to the livestock-based livelihoods of agro-pastoralists. Conflict management through a focus on resource sharing between Turkana, Pokot, and Samburu will be mainstreamed. ACTED will also upscale its geographic information systems (GIS) activities and provide mapping and information management services to better identify key needs and improve coordination among development and humanitarian actors in arid and semi-arid lands, refugee camps and urban informal settlements. In the light of the upcoming national elections, ACTED is firmly committed to providing support to civil society, local communities and government bodies in undertaking a peaceful and effective transition to devolved governance under the new Kenyan constitution.
Partners in 2011
Conseil Général du Finistère (CGF), European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Ville de Paris, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).